Defender Sam Hird knew he would be playing under someone very familiar to him when he signed for Barrow AFC, but he insists manager Ian Evatt wasn’t the only reason he chose to join the Bluebirds.

Hird played alongside Evatt at the heart of Chesterfield’s defence for five seasons before both departed the Spireites last summer following their relegation to the National League.

AFC gave Evatt his first managerial appointment not long after and he attempted to sign his former teammate in the months that followed, with Hird wanting to wait for any potential offers from Football League clubs.

He finally got his man three weeks ago, however, with Hird already knowing midfielder Josh Kay (another ex-Spireite) and being well aware that Barrow still have plenty to play for this season.

Hird said: “It was an easy decision [to join], not just because of the gaffer. I know a lot of the lads here anyway and I spoke to them before I came.

“It’s a good club, there’s no two ways about it. Everything is done right, the lads have all been brilliant ever since I walked in – I can’t stress enough how much of a good team spirit there is here.

“That’s credit to all the lads, the staff, everybody and hopefully we can have a push now for the play-offs for the rest of the season. It’ll be tough, but we’re going to keep pushing.”

By coincidence, Hird’s first start for the Bluebirds came at Chesterfield last Saturday, with him helping the side to keep a deserved clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at the Proact Stadium.

Considering he’s still building up his fitness after a knee injury disrupted his time at previous club Alfreton Town, it made his performance across 90 minutes all the more impressive.

He was unaware, however, that he’d be making such a quick return to his old club, saying: “It was after a week’s training and building up to the Halifax game that I asked one of the lads who were playing next because I hadn’t even looked.

“All I was focused on was getting my fitness up and getting fit enough to help the lads, get in the squad and hopefully get in the team.

“It was only after the Halifax game that I realised we were playing Chesterfield the following week, so it was something to look forward to.”